Core Stories

Red Dot Revolution - The New Normal

Features That Make A Difference

If we jumped in a time machine and traveled back to 2005, you would see a large number of ARs being sold, but what you wouldn’t see is a lot red dots on top of them.

A mere 10-15 years ago, red dots were viewed as a luxury item; something only elite operators or guys with too much money would run. But fast forward to now, and you would be hard pressed to find someone shooting an AR without one. The “luxury” label has been dropped and replaced by “necessity”.

Of course, the term red dot now covers a wide array of sights. It can honestly be a bit overwhelming when trying to decide which one is best for you. A quick Google search of “cheap red dot” returns results as cheap as $20! Conversely, on the high end, you can spend up to $1000 on something that doesn’t look all that different. So what should you really look for in a red dot and how should you set it up? We called in a heavy hitter in the Close Quarters Battle (CQB) training world to dish out some truth.

Garett Schwindel served in the elite 2nd Ranger Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment and has 14 deployments under his belt. While serving, he also acted as a U.S. State Department Lead Firearms Instructor. This means he didn’t just use the gear, he instructed thousands upon thousands of US military members, private contractors, and foreign military and police on how to use it, as well. Here’s what Garett looks for in a quality red dot.

DURABILITY: Buy Once, Cry Once

Durability is one of the things I appreciate most when it comes to a red dot. It’s a difficult thing to produce a sturdy red dot that’s lightweight, not overbuilt, ergonomic, and reliable. It needs to be able to survive extreme conditions and repeated use. I’m a firm believer in the “buy once, cry once” mantra. Skimping on firearms related equipment is definitely not an area where being thrifty is a good thing.

FIELD-OF-VIEW: Ditch the Dead Space

Field-of-view is important when engaging targets. Many red dots have very thick housings or even multiple housings for ruggedness. This often creates dead space when looking through your red dot. I prefer a thinner housing which removes the amount of area that I can’t see. If I am engaging targets out at further distances, and they are in hidden among the terrain, I want every advantage I can get.

WEIGHT: Ounces = Pounds

In the military, they say that ounces make pounds and pounds make pain. I learned early on that there is a balance between performance and weight. I prefer to go as light as possible on anything that I may be carrying without sacrificing too much performance.

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